Being locked in a room with clues to find, puzzles to solve and keys to use is what Escape Muncie is all about.
Escape rooms have been gaining popularity around the world, with at least 2,800 of them featured worldwide according to MarketWatch. The trend has now hit Muncie with a focus on giving back.
Jennifer Everetts, the owner of Escape Muncie and a Yorktown resident, said she thought about opening an escape room after her and her family went to one in Cincinnati.
“We were talking about it for weeks afterwards,” Everetts said. “I thought, 'You know what, I think Muncie needs something like that. We could totally do this. What if we could do this?'”
Everetts opened Escape Muncie with her husband, Bruce Everetts, in July. Since then, the business has been a major success in the community and continues to attract many.
“My gosh, everyone loves it,” Everetts said. “Whether you get out or don’t get out, it's still a lot of fun.”
People come and play the first game and love it so much that they come back and play another game, she said. Because of this, Everetts plans to rework the rooms every year or so.
Escape Muncie currently has three different rooms and difficulties that include the easy classroom, intermediate mansion and hard theater. Each game lasts one hour.
Additionally, a fourth room called Grandma’s Living Room is in the works and will be the easiest out of all the rooms.
In the past, the couple has traveled back and forth from Jamaica to do outreach there and proceeds from Escape Muncie benefit their nonprofit Journey Home Jamaica.
Currently, the couple is trying to raise money to buy land in Jamaica to build an orphanage there. They also have a connection with some local charities and nonprofits in Muncie so they can give money back on a local level.
“You get to have good time but give back at the same time,” Everetts said.
Everetts advised newcomers to escape games to "utilize the game master, don’t be afraid to use your hints and make sure you are communicating."
“This is all about having fun, it's not about who is the fastest,” she said.
Danny Jackson, a senior theater education major, works at Escape Muncie and is a game master. His job with the business is to help groups play the game. With help from cameras and microphones, he can watch the players and answer questions or give clues if the players need any.
Jackson said he can see the excitement when people play.
“Due to the fact that a player is constantly working through puzzles and finding answers, people get to relish in a feeling of accomplishment," he said.
Jackson also had a word of advice for everyone who feels like puzzles are overwhelming.
“Even if you don't think you're good at puzzles, escape rooms are still an entertaining and fulfilling experience,” Jackson said.